The Power of Customer Lists
It is easy for today’s business owners to take for granted many of the powerful marketing tools they have at their fingertips. It was barely more than 50 years ago companies were given the ability to manage the first automated customer lists with computers. Though quite primitive by our standards today, the ability to target categories of customers was considered a marketing miracle.The real problem with these lists is that they only empowered a business to mail out expensive direct mail pieces and catalogs, the vast majority of which ended up in the trash bin. Today, however, the gold in customer lists is based primarily in the power of email. A great deal of the focus of inbound marketing has the objective of gathering email addresses from prospects and customers. However, it is the manner in which these addresses are used that determines their ultimate value.
Treating Email as a Marketing Asset
In contrast with earlier direct mail, email is remarkably cost-effective as a marketing tool. Unfortunately, because it is so inexpensive and simple to use, many marketers fail to value and use it as the asset it has the potential to be. Some even wrongly consider email to be somewhat outdated. With the advent of social media, other companies have heard that siren call and pay even less attention to effective email marketing. The reality is that as with any valuable corporate resource, your email list should be carefully protected and maintained. If you don’t appreciate the power of email, you’re squandering one of the most significant marketing resources ever created. Rather than an occasionally-used marketing technique, your email list and email program should be part of a carefully maintained overall strategy. Professionally designed and executed emails are a very effective way to integrate your inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Once you have a customer initiating a conversation, email is the tool that allows you to continue that conversation in an effective manner. As of 2012, more than 89 billion emails are sent and received daily in the business world. A survey of leading CMOs indicates that email produces an ROI as much as 80 percent greater than that of any other marketing dollar. While there is an ongoing problem with spam, that huge number shows how essential email is in B2B communications. It is a similar situation with B2C emails. If you want to get a prospect or customer’s attention, speak to them through the inbox with a message they are glad to receive and willing to read. One of the reasons email is so effective is the availability of increasingly useful analytics and metrics. These tools are useless, of course, unless you utilize them effectively. It’s time to reevaluate the role of email in your overall marketing strategy. Below are a few tips to consider as you conduct that assessment.
- Do plan your emails for a consistent, cohesive message. Develop several emails at once as part of a series that carries a desired message. Develop different email series for different uses and purposes.
- Do carefully study your analytics. Use test emails for large, important mailings. Keep your list purged of unresponsive addresses.
- Do make your emails inviting. There are an unlimited number of email templates that can be used for special messages, holidays, etc. The latest responsive email templates also allow your messages to be effective on multiple devices.
- Do keep emails short and on point. Remember their purpose – drive them to your website or social media platform with an enticing teaser if you have a lot to share.
- Do focus on relevance. Of course, that is the key to all your marketing messages. Give the contact something they want or need as a part of the communications. (coupons, tips, important info, etc.)
- Do include a call to action for the purpose of that specific email.
- Do try to create certain emails that will be shared and forwarded.
- Do maintain compliance with all spam laws and controls.
- Don’t ignore what your analytics are telling you. Update and modify emails to get positive opens and click-thrus.
- Don’t send emails too frequently or without a specific purpose. Above all, you don’t want your targets to see your email and think spam.
- Don’t fail to integrate emails into your other marketing tools, website, and social media platforms.
Take the time to appreciate and develop the significant corporate asset you have in your email list. Treat it like gold worth mining and you’ll be pleased with the return on the effort.